Will yellow glasses stop me being blinded ?

In the winter I commute along a canal path, the lights from the other cyclists are blinding at times.

Will yellow glasses stop this, it's too dark for normal sunglasses?

  • In the past, I found that yellow tinted lenses took the sting out of automobile headlights without impacting the rest of my vision
    – Paul H
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 15:15

3 Answers 3


No. What blinds you is the relative brightness of the bike lights and the fact that unlike legal car lights, many of them are pointing straight at your face.

The yellow lenses are designed to increase contrast in daylight. They work by blocking blue light, which is scattered so that it comes from all directions and makes shadows less visible.

EDIT: The spectrum of most white LEDs does have an intense spike at blue wavelength. Most of the energy is still at longer wavelengths, where yellow glasses do not do much. They will also filter your own headlight and street lights if they are white LED variety. Because of Purkinje effect, the blue part of spectrum is more important for low light vision. This is why white LEDs seem disproportionately bright and why yellow glasses restrict your vision more in dark than during the day.

  • 6
    You're almost certainly right, but the blue component is quite strong in white LEDs, so attenuating that may be helpful. Of course if your own lights or even the street lights are LEDs they will be affected the same, but if you're somewhere with sodium lighting and use halogen lights yourself you could gain.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 9:25
  • 2
    @Nobody If there's anyone else around with a light, you have basically no night vision. Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 10:19
  • 5
    "unlike legal car lights, many of them are pointing straight at your face." – In my jurisdiction, it would not be legal to have your bicycle lights adjusted like that. The center of the light cone leaving the lamp must be at most half as high off the ground after at most 5m than when leaving the lamp. Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 15:22
  • 4
    The problem is worsened by the fact that quite many riders don't seem to care about the adjustment of their front lights. Many lights can also easily be knocked out of alignment by a slight touch of the hand. Mine does, especially when mounted directly on the metal of the bar rather than on a taped part.
    – Carel
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 16:00
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    @JörgWMittag Here neither, that keeps no one from doing it. The bloody amateurs don't know and the rest would have the courtesy anyway.
    – Nobody
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 21:20

I've been trying some yellow clip-ons which mount to the front of my glasses. They produce a definite yellow tint to everything. In addition car windows look extra yellow at some angles, because they are reflecting the blue sky.

Downsides, having a second layer of translucent material means two more surface boundaries for light to refract, so there's a distinct drop in optical clarity. This could be resolved by using a thin film attached directly to the lenses.

The clipons I were using as a test were plain plastic, and were not particularly expensive so I wonder if they have a lot of microscratches and haze already, which would also drop the quality of seeing through.

It also added a noticeable amount of weight on the nose bridge, which was uncomfortable.

I could see around the sides using peripheral vision, which was somewhat disconcerting but I got used to that.

On the upside, I'm confident that an oncoming car headlight's glare was reduced somewhat, but the drop in acuity more than weighed up against that.

ANSWER: Its a definite maybe. Ttry it and see for yourself in your situation.

Update: Yes the yellow tinted lenses help to reduce glare from headlights, effectively reducing the loss of night vision sensitivity some amount. They don't help you see in the dark any better, but if a car's headlight points in your direction, your vision is less-disrupted.

I ended up shelling out for prescription lenses that clip inside regular cycling glasses. The front shield is swapped, so I choose to ride with Yellow in the winter, and clear or blue tint in summer.

I have not found a good time to use the polarised lens - perhaps when boating or a similar reflective situation. Snow-riding perhaps ?



Some manufacturers of these kinds of glasses claim that their products can help reduce glares from other cars using LED headlights. I'm not sure how much blue light it filters out.

It's the blue rich LEDs that are more blinding. Some LEDs are better at preserving our night vision such as warm white, yellow, orange, and red. Warmer colours, blue blocking glasses would affect your's less since there's less blue light. More options for warm white LED headlights are online. You can also make one. The nice thing is that your own headlight's reflections would be less blinding so that you can see unlit areas better. This may give you more time to react when animals or people cross the road right in front of you especially when poorly lit.

If you're using yellow glasses, make sure that some blue light is allowed to pass through as you need to be able to see police car flashers. Also, regular blue blockers can reduce cyan light, making green traffic lights appear dimmer. Green traffic lights seem to use cyan LEDs.

  • I guess that's quite likely. The headlights should have been yellower so that so that less time is needed to readapt our night vision.
    – Brian
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 18:47
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    I've removed the suspect link and the specific product recommnedation in order to prevent your answer from getting flagged and/or downvoted. If you feel that I have changed the nature of your answer, feel free to revert the edit.
    – jimchristie
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 13:48

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